Despite selling out his family and humiliating himself before a man who insulted his mother, George P. Bush failed to get that man’s endorsement for Texas Attorney General. And yet despite getting the enthusiastic endorsement of that same man, Susan Wright lost her bid to capture her late husband’s Congressional seat. The moral of the story is some Republicans will still prostrate themselves before Donald Trump even though it not only won’t do them any good it might do them immediate and permanent harm.
Trump is a poison Republicans can’t seem to get enough of. What precisely is the attraction? You’ll have to ask that same question of the person who sticks a needle in their arm for the first time, knowing only too well the scenes of listless devastation of the hopeless heroin junky. Somehow, they think, it will be different for them. When it turns out to be the same sad story they are always the first to be surprised.
Welcome to the world of the Trump junky. It is particularly poignant that Susan Wright’s husband, Congressman Ron Wright — the first US Congressman to die of COVID-19 — died of a disease that might not have achieved ascendancy in the United States in the first place had Donald Trump done his job and taken COVID seriously. But when Trump said, “You know, a lot of people think that goes away in April with the heat — as the heat comes in. Typically, that will go away in April,” he was speaking, believe it or not, of April 2020. How time flies. Here we are past the midpoint of 2021 and past another April and the disease is still raging thanks to another Trump screwup.
Trump has stupid people — and it turns out there are a lot of them — believing that wearing masks and getting vaccinated is unpatriotic. And still they continue to die. We now know that if you’re in the hospital and on a ventilator it’s a statistical certainty that you haven’t been vaccinated. That in itself is a crime in a country where in less than six months Joe Biden made it possible for every American to become vaccinated easily and for free. For some people saving their own lives and the lives of their loved ones is just too much like socialism, I suppose. Many of those people are the same ones who happily deposited stimulus checks signed by Donald Trump.
When the pandemic began I predicted that many in the Trump heartland would turn against Trump when their friends and relatives and loved ones died. To my astonishment that turned out not to be true, or at least not entirely true. Most of them still continue to declare for Trump. But some of them are voting against him in that secret place where no one can see but their alleged God — in the ballot box. They prefer a Reagan Republican like Jake Ellzey over a Trump Republican like Susan Wright. Yet still the likes of George P. Bush are willing to sell their souls for an endorsement they can’t get, not even with the most self-immolating of prostrations.
Either way, the tide is slowly turning against Trump. Too slowly, when you take into account the dramatic proof of just how toxic Trump has been for his supporters and their families, but turning all the same. Will an indicted Trump or a jailed Trump be the final straw for their unaccountable fealty? Perhaps. I hope so. We just might find out. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.